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President Alvi takes notice of Baloch students’ profiling

IHC orders Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani to form commission to hear Baloch students’ grievances

President Dr. Arif Alvi has directed the Higher Education Commission and the vice-chancellor of the Quaid-e-Azam University (QAU), Islamabad, to take steps against the harassment and profiling of Baloch students.

According to an official statement from the President’s Secretariat, President Alvi met with the Baloch students earlier this month and heard their issues.

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On Thursday, Islamabad High Court (IHC) also passed orders to form a commission headed by Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani through which grievances of Baloch students would be heard.

IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah gave out the orders while hearing a petition filed by rights activist Iman Zainab against the harassment of students protesting in Islamabad last month. The Baloch students were demonstrating against the disappearance of their missing colleague, Hafiz Baloch.

On April 8, Justice Minallah sought a report from the president on the grievances of Baloch students.

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During the hearing, Justice Minallah remarked that these students were the future. “Should the courts close their eyes to these human rights violations?” he asked. “Does the cabinet not know what is happening in the country? Weren’t those who are in the cabinet [now] going to them yesterday? Don’t they know?” he questioned.

It is the job of the political leadership in a democratic society to find a solution, he had observed.

Issue of profiling of Baloch students reemerged once again in the country after a student allegedly was taken into custody from Punjab University Lahore’s hostel on Wednesday.

The Baloch Student Council in their statement said that a student was picked up by people in plain clothes on Wednesday early morning and nothing about his whereabouts was known.

They also staged a protest and a sit-in in front of the vice chancellor’s office at the Punjab University. They demanded that the varsity administration should play a role to rescue the student from law enforcement agencies.

Official sources in the Punjab University denied the allegations and said that no student was abducted from the university’s hostel, but a person who claimed to be the cousin of a student who was staying in the hostel, was arrested by law enforcement agencies.

University officials further said that the counter-terrorism authorities had traced him and they would proceed according to law.

Punjab University spokesperson Khurram Shahzad also denied the abduction and said that no student was missing. He was of the view that the university administration facilitated the law enforcement and intelligence agencies to arrest a person who was staying at a hostel illegally. He said that out of 200 Baloch students, only 20 or more staged a protest on the campus and the university administration would not allow any illegal activities on the campus corridors or hostels.

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